Thursday, 21 February 2013

Some Requests from Raughrie

Raughrie's been with us for a while now. But some people have been coming up to me and asking why Raughrie has been getting so grumpy of late. So, being I was feeling a bit pastoral, I went over to Raughrie, bent down to look into his little face while he sat in his wheelchair, patted him on the shoulder, and asked him  whether he was feeling "a bit sad about something".

Raughrie replied by running over my foot with his chair, and then handing me a list of requests. I've listed them below. He says he'd appreciate it if you could take them seriously.

1) Feel free to stand up and talk to me, or sit down and talk to me. That doesn't bother me. But please don't lean over and look straight into my face at a range of 6 inches. I sit in a wheelchair, not a pram. And you may well have bad breath.

2) You don't need to talk to me slowly, loudly or simply. My ears work perfectly well. If I were deaf then speaking loudly and slowly might help, but I'm not. Likewise the use of simple words. If I had learning difficulties then this might help. But I don't. You have confused my disability with completely different ones. 

3) Please do not pat or rub me on the shoulder, except in the same circumstances that you would do so if I were standing up.

4) When the Beaker People share the "hug of togetherness", bear in mind that I am at a level 2 feet lower than the rest of you. If you all mill round me, this is likely to bring on claustrophobia.

5) Should claustrophobia break out during the "hug of togetherness", I am extremely unlikely to want to exchange hugs or handshakes. Please allow me my personal space.

6) You will notice I am trying to preserve my personal space during the "hug of togetherness" by keeping my hands firmly in my lap and trying to avoid eye contact. Do not pull my hands off my lap to shake them. In the process, you will probably be rubbing my legs. If I did that to you, I would be arrested.

7) Be aware that I am a 14 stone man who uses a wheelchair with racing tyres. If you breach my very reasonable requests 1-6, bear in mind that the pressure exerted on one of your feet from my tyres should I "accidentally" run over you, is about the same as being trod on by an elephant in stilettos.  That would be a terrible thing, and I would feel dreadful about it afterwards. I'd hate to feel dreadful. I hope I have made myself clear.


  1. Also:

    If I have parked my wheelchair on the sidewalk outside the store, I may be merely enjoying the sun while waiting for a relative or friend to finish shopping. Do not assume I am a beggar and give me money. There are many people who need a bit of financial help, but a wheelchair is not a guaranteed indicator as to which people they are.

  2. Also, if I happen to be in your way, please ask me to move. Do not grab my wheelchair and shift me without asking. I would not grab you and bodily move you out of the way, please accord me the same respect.
    (yes, it has happened...)

  3. Actually if I am deaf (I am) please don't speak loudly, clearly will do just fine and I can manage words of more than one syllable.

    1. Yes indeed. But there are older folk I know who do request that you speak more loudly as well as clearly. People are, when all's said and done, their own people.

  4. Okay loud is fine, bellowing in my face with over emphasised mouth movements only covers me in spit. Oddly enough I am not hugely keen on being covered in spit, even my own.


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